Friday, January 20, 2012

Simon Says...No Driving Style

I came across a very interesting interview with Honda Factory driver Simon Pagenaud done by SimRaceway. The article is basically his description of how to set blistering lap times around Mid-Ohio for which he is the overall lap record holder in a Panoz Champ Car pictures below.

The most interesting part of the article is when Simon describes his philosophy on "driving style." Here is the quote:

LinkOne would think that the techniques required to steer 800bhp of open wheel fury like the Panoz DP-01 simply would have no correlation with a rear wheel or all wheel drive production car. Simon begs to differ. “It is important to have a car that is the same on entry, mid-corner and exit”. He went on to explain that the car “needs to be predictable from entry to exit. I want the car to drive into the corner by itself, I never want to force it with the steering. I want to transfer enough weight to the front of the car with my braking or by lifting but I don’t want to have to turn the wheel too much. My belief is there is no ‘driving style’, you need to be able to adapt at every corner.”

I am a big fan of this philosophy. I think it is a very common "paddock myth" for drivers to blame a lack of pace on their "driving style" not matching a certain racecar. I think this is more due to the driver not being able to adapt to what the racecar the end it's the driver not the racecar. The same basic fundamentals of weight transfer apply to any given racecar, but the method to achieve the end result of perfect corner entry, mid-corner balance, and exit velocity will be different. This is why drivers with good fundamentals can hop into any car and be on pace with in a few laps.

Link to the article:

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